"The larger problem with repurchases is that debt-financed buybacks effectively put investors on margin. As corporations have borrowed in order to aggressively buy back their stock near the highest market valuations in history, existing stockholders have quietly become heavily leveraged, without even realizing it."
If there’s anything Brazil certainly does not need, it’s more bad news. The country is, in many ways, a symbol of the great EM unwind and the situation is made immeasurably worse by political instability. The economic outlook - which was already bad enough between a harrowing bout of staglflaton and dual deficits on the fiscal and current accounts - just got a lot worse as unemployment spiked to 7.5%, well ahead of consensus and the worst in five years. How bad is it you ask? Bad enough that BofAML now says the "key" stat to focus on is the number of participants in recurring street protests.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record we'd like to say a bit more about economists' tendency to get their monetary history wrong; in particular, the common myths about the gold standard. If there's one monetary history topic that tends to get handled especially sloppily by monetary economists, not to mention other sorts, this is it. Sure, the gold standard was hardly perfect, and gold bugs themselves sometimes make silly claims about their favorite former monetary standard. But these things don't excuse the errors many economists commit in their eagerness to find fault with that "barbarous relic." The point, in other words, isn't to make a pitch for gold. It's to make a pitch for something - anything - that's better than our present, lousy money.
With a Greek payment to the ECB due tomorrow, there was no doubt that Germany's parliament would ratify the Third Greek bailout, and the only question was whether political opposition to a Greek rescue would be larger or smaller than expressed in the last such Bundestag vote on July 17. Sure enough, following a speech by Schauble urging his fellow MPs to give Greece a "chance for a new start", moments ago the German parliament approved the third bailout with 454 votes for, 113 against - of which 63 were Merkel's lawmakers - and 18 abstentions.
What seems undeniable about the Law of War Manual, is that there are self-contradictions within it. To assert that it "reads like it was written by Hitler's Ministry of War,” is going too far. But, to say that it’s hypocritical (except, perhaps, on torture, where it’s clearly a repudiation of GWB’s practices), seems safely true. Parts of the document are propaganda. The purpose isn’t to fool the public, who won’t read the document. The purpose of the propaganda is to enable future presidents to say, “But if you will look at this part of the Manual, you will see that what we are doing is perfectly legal.” Those mutually contradictory passages are there in order to provide answers which will satisfy both the ‘hawks’ and the ‘doves.’
"The Goldman blowback is a particularly challenging subject to understand and analyze. Taken to extremes, criticism of the firm, which was founded and built by Jewish Americans, smacks at times of anti-Semitism. Fed officials don’t want to fall into the trap of ostracizing qualified people merely because of their association with the firm or its Jewish roots."
- John Hilsenrath
According to the latest, just released survey concerns about both geopolitics and Greece have been largely forgotten, as have Chinese debt defaults, and instead these have been replaced with far more overarching fears about a China recession (made all the more acute after China's devaluation) and an Emerging Market debt crisis. In fact, according to BofA, "2 out of 3 investors think either China recession or EM debt crisis = biggest "tail risks."
As the U.S. economic expansion ages and clouds gather overseas, policy makers worry about recession. But, as WSJ's Jon Hilsenrath warns, their concern isn’t that a downturn is imminent but whether they will have firepower to fight back when one does arrive. "The world economy is like an ocean liner without lifeboats,” economists at HSBC Bank explained, and as looming threats are a reminder that the slow-growing global economy is just a shock away from peril, with rates already at zero, Douglas Elmendorf, the recently departed director of the CBO, warned, "policy makers are thinking about their backup, backup plans."
The downturn in China is “our” downturn. All the recent happy talk, due to unsuitable extrapolation and nothing more, has melted away yet again. In short, the same trend dating back almost four years now is quite expectedly unaltered by whatever any central bank does or does not do. “Stimulus” is just noise against all that, at best; at worst it actively contributes to the instability of the decline.
Billionaire Stanley Druckenmiller Loads Up On Gold, Makes It His Largest Position For First Time EverSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/16/2015 17:40 -0400
Following Friday's filing by the Duquesne Family Office, we learned that as of the end of Q2, the largest position for Stanley Druckenmiller was none other than gold, following the purchase of 2.9 million shares of the GLD ETF shares. In other words, as of this moment, gold amount to over 20% of Druckenmiller's total holdings.
Alas, by ignoring Keynes in 1925, Churchill triggered a calamity so severe that it not only inspired one man to kill himself beneath the British statesman’s very window but, more insidiously, also provided the impetus for the economics profession’s rejection of the “classical” axioms.
Most Americans have no idea that the U.S. corporate fraudulent government can legally lie to you every single day to get you to believe whatever they want you to believe and then turn around behind closed doors and laugh at you for believing their legal lies. Try telling that to most Americans and see how they look at you. This is another example of a hard-to-handle lie that is pushed on Americans every day; and the average working American has no time to truly wrap their heads around this stunning fact so they bury their heads in the sand instead, unwilling to look at the issue because they fear they won’t know what to do with the information.
There is an economic and financial trainwreck rumbling through the world economy. Namely, the Great China Ponzi. In all of economic history there has never been anything like it. It is only a matter of time before it ends in a spectacular collapse, leaving the global financial bubble of the last two decades in shambles. The resulting deflationary spiral will suck the global economy into its vortex. And Wall Street will go down for the count because this time the Fed will be utterly powerless to reverse the tide.
Putting what China has just done in very simple context: China announces an increase in its gold holdings of over 58% (June and July)... and then it devalues its currency by nearly 5% in one week. Even the most brainwashed Keynesians should be able to see what is going on here by now.